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Introducing the 2019 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Award Recipients

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The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is pleased to announce the 2019 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship award recipients. Our 2019 Fellows are Alexandra Hudson of the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), award-winning journalist Chris Moody, Serena Sigillito of Public Discourse, author and columnist Kristin Tate, Mene Ukueberuwa of The Wall Street Journal and Benjamin Weingarten of The Federalist. These six journalists will spend one year researching and providing in-depth reporting on their chosen topics surrounding the principles of a free society. Freelance writer Grace Stark was awarded an Alumni Fund Fellowship to write a series of essays. Please see below to learn more about each fellow and their writing projects.

For a quarter century the Novak Fellowships have made possible incisive reporting by outstanding new journalists – and this year’s fellows take their place among the best. They are diverse in their interests but united in dedication to uncovering the truth. Their efforts help Americans understand themselves and their country better, and we’re proud to support the work of these remarkable young writers and reporters.” – Dan McCarthy, Director of TFAS Journalism Fellowship Programs

The fellowships are named for Robert D. Novak, renowned reporter, syndicated columnist, and co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire.” Since its founding in 1994, the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship program has funded over 140 journalists to undertake long-form writing projects that they would otherwise not have the resources to complete. Novak Fellows have gone on to become leaders in their field as Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, editors of national magazines and authors of best-selling books. Prominent fellows include Reason Editor-in-Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward, Novak ’05, and best-selling authors Mollie Hemingway, Novak ’04, of Fox News and The Federalist, and Tim Carney Novak ’03 of the Washington Examiner.

The 2019 fellows will be presented during this week’s 26th Annual Journalism Awards Dinner at the Metropolitan Club in New York City on Sept. 12, 2019. The evening will also introduce Matthew Taylor King as our 2019 Joseph Rago Memorial Fellow for Excellence in Journalism and honor Roger Kimball with the 2019 Thomas L. Phillips Career Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of journalism.

For more information about the dinner, visit TFAS.org/JAwards19.

2019 Fellowship Recipients

Alexandra Hudson

Project: “Make ‘Porching’ Great Again: How Front Porch Citizenship Can Save Democracy and the Soul of a Nation”

Alexandra Hudson is passionate about the way that ideas and storytelling can change people’s lives. She studied history and political philosophy at Trinity Western University and earned her master’s degree in international comparative social policy at the London School of Economics as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar. She served as a policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, where she worked to administer an annual budget of $16 billion, and is currently a fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). She has appeared on Fox News, and her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The American Conservative, the Washington Examiner, The Claremont Review of Books, The Catholic Herald, Commentary Magazine and Quillette. She lives with her husband in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Chris Moody

Project: “Freedom on the Fringes: A 35,000-mile Journey in Search of a More Meaningful American Dream”

Chris Moody is an award-winning journalist who most recently covered politics, technology and travel for CNN, where he hosted the political video series, “Being Moody.” He has written for Yahoo News, The New Republic, Reason, Book Forum, The Scripps-Howard News Service, The Palm Beach Post and The Daily Caller. Moody has appeared on CNN, HLN, Fox News, MSNBC and dozens of radio programs. He lives full-time on the road in an off-grid tiny house he and his wife built into a cargo van.


Serena Sigillito

Project: “Women’s Work: How Modern Moms Find Fulfillment in Caregiving and Career Building”

Serena Sigillito is editor of Public Discourse, the journal of the Witherspoon Institute. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas and her master’s degree at the Catholic University of America. Previously, she conducted research on higher education for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, focusing on the decline of rigorous core curricula. In addition to Public Discourse, Sigillito has written for First Things, National Review, America, The Federalist, Aleteia, Verily Magazine and I Believe in Love. Sigillito was a 2015 Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute and a 2018-2019 fellow at the Leonine Forum. She lives in the Princeton, New Jersey, area with her husband and their two daughters.


Kristin Tate

Project: “Unlimited Government: The Unchecked Growth of America’s Federal Workforce”

Kristin Tate is an author and columnist focused on taxation, federal regulation and government spending. Her latest book, “The Liberal Invasion of Red State America,” will be published by Regnery Publishing in 2020. Her weekly column in The Hill newspaper is regularly featured on Real Clear Politics and national cable news networks. Tate also serves as an analyst for the nonprofit group Young Americans for Liberty, advising the organization in its mission to promote limited government and fiscal responsibility.


Mene Ukueberuwa

Project: “Work in Progress: How Industry Serves the Needs of the American People”

Mene Ukueberuwa is an assistant editorial features editor at The Wall Street Journal, where he edits and contributes op-eds. Before joining The Journal in 2018, he was an editor at City Journal and The New Criterion. He grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, and holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College.


Benjamin Weingarten

Project: “Unseen Revolution: The Bold Transformation of America’s China Policy”

Ben Weingarten is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, fellow at the Claremont Institute and senior contributor at The Federalist. He writes and speaks about national security and foreign policy, economics, politics and political philosophy, contributing regularly to publications including City Journal, The Claremont Review of Books, Conservative Review, PJ Media and the Washington Examiner. Weingarten is the host and producer of the “Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten” podcast, and frequent guest host for radio personalities including Buck Sexton and Andrew Wilkow. He is also the founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media, a media consulting and production company dedicated to advancing an America First national security/foreign policy, individual liberty and limited government. Weingarten was selected as a 2015 Publius Fellow of the Claremont Institute. He previously served as an editor, producer and publishing manager at The Blaze. Weingarten began his career as an investment banker at the New York-based boutique investment bank Centerview Partners. He is a 2010 graduate of Columbia University where he majored in economics-political science. Weingarten will publish his first book with Bombardier Books in March 2020.


2019 Alumni Fund Fellowship Recipient

Grace Stark

Project: “50 Years of Ignoring Birth Control Side Effects and Health Risks: Examining the Reality of How Hormonal Contraceptives Hurt Women’s Health”

After graduating from Georgetown University (NHS 2014) where she was a founding member of the Georgetown University Undergraduate Bioethics Society and Bioethics Bowl team, Stark worked as an ORISE Fellow at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA, focusing on evaluating the Breakthrough Therapy program and organizing Patient-Focused Drug Development meetings. In 2015, Stark and her husband Michael moved to Guam, where they had their first child and where Grace completed her master’s degree in Bioethics and Health Policy from Loyola University Chicago. Her master’s capstone, titled “Catholic Social Teaching and America’s Sub-Optimal Breastfeeding Rate: Where Faith and Policy Should Meet to Combat Injustice,” was published in the November 2017 special issue of The Linacre Quarterly on women’s health. Since moving to San Diego in 2017, Stark and her husband have welcomed a second child, and she has focused on her career as a freelance writer. She has a particular interest in women’s health, contemporary issues in bioethics, Catholicism and culture, and her work has been featured in such publications as Natural Womanhood, Verily Magazine, The Public Discourse, The Federalist, The American Conservative and other outlets.


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